Most vegetarians use soy as a source for protein foods. In fact most simply cut out all the animal protein (milk and derivatives) and replace it with soy. Now, a study, on merely 99 men has found that intake of soy can reduce the sperm concentration and count – even at low levels of intake.
Soy eaters had, on average, 41 million fewer sperm per milliliter than those who avoided soy products. That association held up after other factors potentially affecting sperm health, such as smoking, alcohol and caffeine intake, age, abstinence time and body mass index were considered.
The minimum count in the normal sperm range is however 20 million, so its not as if you will become infertile or something, as per study results. But the small amounts taken by the study subjects was really very low.
Consumption of the study’s 15 soy-based foods, from miso soup and tofu to soy burgers, ice cream and energy bars, was low, an average of one serving every other day among the highest-consuming group.
Actually soy has isoflavones, which are tied to infertility in many animal studies. So this finding is not too surprising.
However, just off the cuff – where have I seen most soy being consumed? Tofu? Chinese food right? Now, judging by their population, Chinese males are anything but infertile!! 🙂 So, does the intake of soy lead to permanent or long term reduction in sperm count or is it just a temporary phenomena? Or is it that the sperms that are left are like the top percentile performers when it comes to getting a “strike”?!!
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